Sitcoms With Laugh Tracks

I Love Lucy

I’ve never been a big fan of TV, especially sitcoms, and I can guarantee you that not everybody loves Raymond, but I have to call BS on sitcoms with laugh tracks. Really?

Are we that stupid that we need the TV networks to help us out in deciphering what’s funny and what’s not by using those idiotic laugh tracks? I’m sorry but I can’t watch any show that needs to remind me when I’m supposed to laugh. It’s mind numbing. Sorry, just can’t do it.

Laugh Track Definition

Have you actually seen a sitcom without the laugh track? They’re really not that funny. (Not that they were funny even with the laugh track)

Take a look at these identical clips from The Big Bang Theory and you’ll see what I mean.

The Big Bang Theory – With Laugh Track

The Big Bang Theory – Without Laugh Track

Not only is it not funny, it’s downright uncomfortable to sit through.

The concept of “laugh tracks” actually dates back at least 500 years to the days of Shakespearean performances in the 16th century. “Plants” in the crowd spurred on audience reactions, including laughter and cheering as well as jeers.


Fast forward 500 years when laugh tracks first appeared on TV in 1950 on a rather obscure NBC situation comedy, The Hank McCune Show, and they continue today. The reason why…they work. They’re meant to make the audience at home feel like they’re part of a bigger crowd sitting in a movie theater or at a comedy club.

As much as I dislike sitcoms, I have to give props to shows, like “30 Rock,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Modern Family,” “The Office” and “Glee,” that have said no to the laugh track, realizing their audience’s IQ is larger than their shoe size, preferring the audience’s authentic reactions to their humor and punch lines.

Popular shows that currently dub in the yuks, whether they tape before a live audience or not, include “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike & Molly” just to name a few. Past sitcom sensations, from “Seinfeld” and “Cheers” to “Friends” and “Frasier,” also turned to some form of electronically enhanced giggles.

I don’t know where you come down on this issue, but for me and the use of laugh tracks, I Call BS.

Please be sure to let me know how you stand on the issue of Sitcoms With Laugh Tracks.

I Call BS

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